Seduced by the whims and charms of sailing the Mediterranean

CNN/ Newswire | 7/24/2018, 9:37 a.m.
Once you arrive in the Mediterranean Sea it is easy to understand why the Greek hero Odysseus took 10 years ...
The Bonifacio village is perched precariously on top of cliff that have been chiseled away by the Mistral winds.

By Kellie Pollock, for CNN

(CNN) -- Once you arrive in the Mediterranean Sea it is easy to understand why the Greek hero Odysseus took 10 years to find his way home.

Although there are no mythological nymphs, lotus eaters or sea monsters to delay your passage there is still much in this storied part of the world to seduce, bewitch and thwart.

When we first entered the Mediterranean via the Gibraltar Straits, we had planned to spend two years exploring its waters before continuing our journey around the world.

That plan was very quickly scuttled.

As many sailors claim, and as we have discovered ourselves, the wind in the Mediterranean is fickle. There is either too much, too little or it is right on your nose.

Fortunately, unlike Odysseus, most sailors can counter the whims of the wind Gods and simply turn on the engine -- which is what we did all the way from Gibraltar to Ibiza.

We were impatient to get to the islands, lured by postcard images of secluded coves in which you can drop anchor in waters the color of swimming pools.

One piece of paradise we came across was Cala San Miguel, on the west coast of Ibiza which boasts some of the most spectacular sunsets in the Mediterranean.

It sits just below Cala Benirras which is famous for the hoards of drummers who descend on its small slither of beach every Sunday to herald the end of the day.

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As the sun descends, another sight to see in Benirras is a rocky outcrop at the cove entrance which looks uncannily like Queen Victoria on her throne.

Spending days in these protected anchorages is easy, taking the dinghy ashore for a sundowner at a beach bar and swimming off the back of the boat.

There is little incentive to leave other than the promise of hundreds of other idyllic coves you can find throughout the Mediterranean. Some of the most beautiful and isolated anchorages can be found in Sardinia.

For us, the most superb was Cala Luna in the Gulf of Orosei on the eastern side of the island. This stunning stretch of coastline is famous for its caves, but is largely inaccessible from land.

During the day, it is crowded with tourist boats, but the patient sailor will be rewarded with an almost exclusive anchorage by sunset.

Cala Luna offered a welcome reprieve from the armada of boats that descend on the Costa Smeralda and La Maddalena Archipelago in northern Sardinia.

In the peak season, this is a playground for the jet set and the world's largest superyachts which anchor off-shore like floating luxury hotels complete with crew, chefs and other staff.

There are also countless other pleasure craft, all vying for space in the crystal blue waters throughout the Archipelago which is often described as the Caribbean without palm trees.

But the waters here can be perilous, scattered as they are with spectacular rock formations that have been sculpted by a weather system known as the Mistral.